GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The University of Arkansas Lady Razorback soccer team is enjoying its best season in 10 years, but there is still much work to be done as it finds itself in a race for the Southeastern Conference Tournament, a race that begins on Friday night when the Lady’Backs take on the University of Florida Gators in Gainesville, Fla.
It has been a big week for the Lady Razorbacks as senior goalkeeper Carrie Dillsaver was named the conference’s defensive player of the week, and then got word that the team earned its first ever ranking when it popped up in a tie for 15th in the central region. With that excitement behind them, the Lady Razorbacks now must refocus on the task at hand which includes winning more matches to ensure a place in the postseason.
“I’ve said this week after week and that is this is going to be a tough weekend for us,” Arkansas head coach Gordon Henderson said. “This is a split weekend between Florida and home and we certainly get the tougher of the two on the front end with Florida. They are at the top of the league and are playing very well right now. We are looking forward to the challenge.”
With four matches remaining on the schedule, the Lady Razorbacks have 10 points in SEC play, a total that has qualified teams for the for the championship tournament over the past several years. In 2006, the competitiveness of the league looks to be forcing teams to earn at least 13 if they have aspirations of moving on. Squads earn three points for every win and a point for every tie in SEC play.
The Arkansas-Florida series has been dominated by the Gators when one looks at the all-time record, but digging a little deeper tells a much different story. The two squads have played some memorable matches over the years including a 4-3 shootout in the first round of the SEC Tournament in 1999, a 2-1 come-from-behind victory by the Gators in 2004 and a late 1-0 Florida victory in Fayetteville last fall.
In order for Arkansas to be successful against the Gators, it will have to be solid defensively and counter well. The Lady’Backs’ back line must control the craftiness and speed of the Florida attack while also contributing to the offense when available. While the task seems tall for Arkansas it is not out of the ordinary. The quartet of Devon Burger, Allison Harris, Sarah Gwisdala and Rachel Smith have been doing it all season long and are excited to take on their toughest challenge of the season.
For more information about Lady Razorback soccer or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to LADYBACKS.COM.